Sunday, June 30, 2013

Last Day of This June

Days of summer spool out across June.
Book in hand, icy tea glass at elbow;
I hear July knocking at the door.
The first third of summer fades with today. We have had it all this month. Storms, heat, sunshine, rain...pain, death,, blessings, laughter.
Unbelievable cool came in last night and this morning it was 60 degrees on the deck first thing. Out came the tea pot and cinnamon orange tea! Grand dog Storm and I headed out early so as to not miss a moment of the morning beauty.
Cottonwood leaves whisper under gauzy clouds,
Song birds sing greeting songs,
Tea leaves unfurl in china cup,
Morning is welcomed!
The summer issue of SEK Living is out now and I have a poem on its pages. This magazine celebrates the little corner of Kansas where it is hard to find page burning items to print. But the young and  enthusiastic editor is working hard trying to make the pages compete with the Big Boy Press, and it shows. Kimber is finding all kinds of things to celebrate and history to study. Sometimes we have to take the small things and look at them deeply to find new and interesting details. The pages in the magazine are lovely with outstanding photographs too. Try it; you will like it!
Going to Wichita
Wheels rolling to Wichita
We pass fields of thumb-sized corn.
Two leaves, like moth wings on each plant,
Flutter in hot breeze, begging for moisture.
As we cross the state line,
Fields become green, vibrant as funeral grass.
Spring wheat of Kansas promises good yield-
If rain comes soon.
The ribbon of road pulls us into the Flint Hills;
We face a sherbet sunset, apricot and raspberry,
While traversing land undulating like a rocking sea.
Brown stalks of prairie grass, stiff as goat hairs,
Winterized and dry stand on the shoulders.  
Small fires intermittently smudge the horizon,
Ranchers burn off winter, making way for spring.
Barbed wired fences, tightened like braces on teeth,
Stretch between Osage Orange fence posts
Or limestone pillars dug out of the plains.
Ponds are half normal size, look thirsty for rain.
Creeks barely flow, exposing flat rocks in their banks
Precision-layered like artichoke leaves.
A few wildflowers interrupt the harmonious hues
With neon shades of Oz yellows and blues,
While hills and washes lift and fall,
Working Midwestern soil same as centuries ago,
New highways move through the landscape,
Skipping business districts and neighborhoods,
Now making some ghost towns.
Eternal land leans out effortlessly
To meet the edge of sky.
A drive across this ground comforts.
Wipes away stress, calms heart beats,
Synchronizes our inner rhythms with nurturing prairie.
I got a call last night from and editor wanting to use my story "Rabbit Hunting". This was great news, and I love being published in Rosebud as I am in great writing company there!
So now on with July, wondering what surprises and shocks it will hold for us. There is no way but forward to find out!
"In the novel you get the journey. In a poem you get the arrival."  May Sarton, poet
"When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad things you did do, that's memoirs."  Will Rogers, humorist

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Centus/White Man's War

Today for Centus, Jenny gave us a picture prompt. The flag picture seemed right for Fourth of July moods. So in 100 words writers were to respond with fiction or poetry. For more entries, visit Jenny at
There are some nice entries and my own fiction is below.


                                                   Not Just a White Man’s War

Kelcie was from a family who would not talk. All family stories stayed buried by agreement. So when Uncle Milo White Bear asked for help cleaning out his garage in order to move to assisted living, she was astonished he would let anyone help.
 When she pulled out a ragged flag from the hump-backed trunk, she asked, “What is the deal with the torn flag?”

“Anzio. Our flag was being battered,” he said simply.

“And…,” she urged.

“So I took out two machine gun nests. Showed ‘em. Chief still a warrior!”

His bent fingers stroked the tattered flag.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lazy Days of Summer

Okay, I'll admit it: I am very lazy lately. Oh, I keep up what I have to like groceries and laundry, but when I think about dusting or seeking dirt in corners, I just say "Tomorrow".  The grand dog is visiting so it is perfect excuse not to jump up in the morning with a big plan. We go out on deck for breakfast and some reading. Storm is not crazy about heat so once we have had lunch outside too, it is time to go inside. Hum. I don't argue. More reading and fiddling and maybe even a wink or two while we wait for the sun to go down and cool things off for a while.

I found a book in my office closet titled The Tenth Gift. It looked pretty new but had no name. I go in touch with everyone I know who I swap books with, but no one claimed it was theirs. I started reading it, a story about two women in two different eras tied together by embroidery patterns. A bit of romance, a dash of pirates, some new info about Morocco all made for a good summer read. I was only a few pages in when I realized it was MY book. I had bought it off a clearance table months ago and forgot I had bought it. Hum,  think maybe I have too many books in my life?

                                                          Storm wants a bite too.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A June Mini Trip

We knew it would be a long hot day, so we went prepared. First stop was a local Farmer’s Market on the way. There we found the last box of green tomatoes for the day and the neatest jelly and jam stand run by a lovely young couple, kids really. We don’t eat much jelly, but I just had to bring home a jar of dandelion jelly and one of garlic jelly. Yep, that is what I said. I quizzed them and they swore it was good for marinade, chicken sauce, and with cream cheese and crackers. Said a family from Kansas City drives down to by six jars at a time, and the little girl eats half jar with Wheat Thins on the way home. I can attest to the fact now that it is good. DH did not like it at all so that will make my jar last longer!

Then on to visit elderly in-laws at assisted living. No good news there, only many worries. Then pushing onward west, we had plans to meet our son. We were passing off his new TV cabinet DH had made and trading it for our grand dog for a few days. The wind picked up and the heat rose, but oh, the wheat fields were beautiful. Rain had kept farmers out of harvesting, but a few were beginning to get back into the fields. There were rolling carpets of saffron wheat waving in the wind, beauty for sure.

We made a stop in Neodesha, Kansas to seek out some flea markets. This berg is only about three blocks long and has seen better days, much like many small Kansas towns. But the buildings were appealing and looked worth saving. Housing was old but neat with well-tended yards. I know this is a town struggling but I had the urge to want to live there a while, to help save the streets and store fronts. The flea markets struggled too, but the local tavern was a hot spot for the day. We watched about one hundred cycles ride into town with riders brown as a pecan shell and wearing red or blue or yellow bandanas flapping in the wind. Most riders waved and it was hard not to go ask if we could join them for a story or two.

I found this little basket in perfect shape for a song. No, I did not need it, but surely I will find a use for it. Not a blemish or broken reed anywhere. So sweet. Then down the street I found a piece of Blue Willow that was no bargain, but I thought it needed a home. It is neither a platter nor a bowl. It is small with a slight depth, and I have not seen one exactly like it before. I am sure it is for pickles, olives, or something similar.  

We had planned to eat, but when we all finally got to Fredonia, it was too hot to leave the dog and too hot to eat out in the park. So we chatted, unloaded, and went back home again. We were quite tired by the time we got home and even Storm was ready for a “catnap”.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Summer Solstice

How can two thirds of this month be gone already when it seems only yesterday it was May? July is hovering, waiting to pop in. However, July's heat has arrived first. Very hot today although probably ten degrees cooler than this time last year!

DH finished his project for Son Two and it is ready to be delivered. It is a cherry entertainment center.
Also today I got a contract for a poem. Let's hope this is a trend that continues throughout the summer!
On with June Solstice!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Billy the Kid Died in Stocking Feet!

Finally, two days in a row without rain and that meant deck time. Today I read Michael Wallis’s book, Billy the Kid: The Endless Road with lots of history about New Mexico and westward expansion in the tale. Wallis really digs to give as much background on Billy as possible although so much is unknown about him for sure. He traces the boy from Indiana to Kansas to New Mexico. When I learned Billy was born of an Irish mother and his name was Billy McCarty, I got excited. My own great grandfather was reared by an uncle who was McCarty and of people from the Emerald Isle. Then when I knew about the Wichita years, I had to check. But the years did not add up to a relative fathered by the future outlaw, as Billy was 11 years old when my great grandfather was born…and he was also an orphan.

Billy had a hard life, and he was small. He was thin and delicate, his feet and hands like that of a woman. This must have been a burden in the Old West. He loved to sing and dance; many people liked Billy McCarty, later Antrim when he used his step-father’s name. He could read and write at a time when many could not. He loved to tell stories and the ladies liked him. He found he had to learn gun skills to make up for his size. The revolving rifle and a six shooter became the Great Equalizer for him, to protect himself.  He shot the man who had him down on the ground abusing him, hardly what I would describe as cold blooded killing, more like self-defense. However, that shooting and hard circumstances in a hard land lead him down a rough path.

His mother died when he was 15, his step-father abandoned him, and he fended for himself falling under the influences of the wrong sort of men. With the right hand, Billy could have been something besides dead at 21. Had he fled to Mexico even then, he would have lived, but he wanted to stay close to his special sweetheart. So Pat Garrett got the drop on Billy when he tiptoed out in stocking feet at night to get a chunk of meat off a carcass.

I learned of the Wallis book while reading the latest issue of True West. While I wait for the new Lone Ranger movie to hit theaters, I decided to read up on Billy the Kid for summer entertainment. I am glad I did as Billy the Kid was an interesting character. Like the rest of us, he was not all bad or all good but a mix of parts that made him unique…and lead him to live a life that made him a legend.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pupusas and Spanish Music

                                                               Pupusas and coleslaw...flan a la leche was dessert!
The local Episcopal Church is a beehive of activity and I like to check in there every once in a while. This morning, Father Ted taught the first of a two part class on walking a Labyrinth. Interesting that both labyrinths and prayer beads have been religious tools of all the major faith from all over the world.

                                                                    Father Steve and Father Palma before Encore.
Last Friday the church sponsored an Encore luncheon. Once a month you can eat for donation of $5, the cost of the ingredients for various meals. When Father Steve went to Turkey, he cooked foods from that country. During Lent they served fish in wildly unusual dishes. Friday it was pupusas from El Salvador cooked by Father Palma’s wife and mother.

Each Encore lunch has a brief program and Friday it was music by Father Palma’s Spanish band. Each lunch ends by 1:00 so people can get back to their jobs or daily lives. The lunches are a nice break with interesting foods and some kind of information or entertainment.

The music Friday was so energizing that Father Palma's mother and a lady named Deloris got up and danced a storm!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It Is Now Official!

Old people don’t like change. I am old and I don’t like change, but I never liked change when I was a kid. I always wanted to know what was coming maybe because I never did. My dad was a 50’s dad so he just decided things like when we would take a ride about town and get a curly cone. No warning, just “Let’s go”.  On weekends he would sometimes give us thirty minutes warning to “pack your things cause we are a goin’ to Granny’s”. No surprise that when I could shape some of my own life I had lists and notes and plans. I like to know what tomorrow will bring.

I hated the Jetsons riding around on moving belts, flying in air cars, or letting a robot vacuum for them. It was all chrome and speed; I was comfortable with calico and comfort. Yet, I never wanted to be an old person who would be grumpy about change. I hoped to be the kind of old person who kept up with the times, who was flexible, who enjoyed coming attractions.

Lately I have been feeling real cranky. I have itchy skin that makes my flesh crawl and burn, but modern medicine says it must be the air or the food or something I am coming in contact with each day. I remember when food was authentic stuff, not fabricated goo or weird hybrids. The weather is like now a fire eating dragon who harasses the princess in the castle. I remember when there were four seasons in a predictable pattern—and when you bought swim suits in the summer and not in March! I remember when you read books to find information instead of digging in your pocket for a talking box.

See, I sound old.  Oh, I use modern stuff. Gave into microwaves long ago, and I Google for facts now instead of traipsing to the library. I even joined Facebook, but I can’t remember why! I resisted blogging, but melted down on my stand to find I loved it. But now, whoever Anonymous is…well, he is driving me mad. He is like a nat dive bombing a bunch of ripe bananas, showing up when least expected and needs crushing, but I can’t catch him. Why should I have to contend with Anonymous?

A few nights ago, DH had to go to the emergency room 60 miles away. From 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, I was forced t listen to televisions and radios in waiting rooms, exam rooms, and even the car (trying to stay awake to drive!) with the latest news about the horrid government checking on who calls whom in this country. Oh horrors, Google turns advertisers loose on me with emails I don’t want, Facebook clutters my page with trending articles I do not want, and then there are the telemarketers who harass me endlessly. I have done state and national No Call lists. I have turned the Bank Card Services people in to the Attorney General. I have pushed 9 to be taken off the list; I have pushed 2 to talk to a live person and asked nicely to be removed only to be rudely hung up on. If we are going to squabble in this country over our right to privacy, could someone mention to these people MY right to sleep when sick, to have a meal, to watch a movie without being interrupted by their recorded  harassment? Oh, and what about my right to be free from Anonymous?

Yes, it is official. I am old and crabby.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saturday Centus/ Curtains of Despair


 The end of May and now the first of June have been an extremely trying time here. I have not been able to do my usual interests. But yesterday's Saturday Centus prompt of "I release all fears and doubts" gave me a little spark to pick up a pen this morning. What resulted started out a little dark, but I think light and airy won in the end. Odd piece I know, and I will admit to going a little over the word count for the first time ever. However, I think I will let it stand, for now anyway. Flog me with a wet noodle if you must! If you want to read more pieces written from this prompt, visit Jenny at
Curtains of Despair
I feel like drapery on a Victorian window,
Velvety heavy and downy dark, hems dragging the floor.
I can’t reach the sunlight though I know
Brightness is just beyond the towering oak.
What I want is to be a curtain again.
Can I become so if I release all fears and doubts?
I want to billow and beat against restraining wood,
To escape the casement.
I want to be unrestricted and light, supple with grace;
Live as a gauzy eggshell panel that hides nothing,
But exposes all, as does the windowpane.
I want to flow and flutter with ease of a prancing dancer on pink toes;
I want to frolic in freedom and flap on vibrating air.
Let the breeze blow!
Release my fabric and let me dance in the trembling wind.